Our vision of the Group’s international dimension
International development has been a priority for the Group since its creation. It is a major strategic challenge, a vector for growth and diversification that also enables us to support our customers more effectively. Moreover, it is a source of innovation and continuous improvement, because the wide range of skills and approaches within the Group strengthen our ability to meet our customers’ requirements. Finally, our international presence is driven by a philosophy of business efficiency that enables us to provide our local customers with competitive regional solutions.
In 2018, the creation of WeAre PACIFIC helped us gain a strong foothold in the automotive and medical markets and enabled us to meet the needs of our major customers in the aeronautics and defense markets (AIRBUS, SAFRAN, THALES, etc.) more effectively, all key customers that are looking for partners capable of providing them with support in this region of the world.
Our international development is managed by WeAre International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of WeAre.
WeAre International’s first development missions were in the Pacific region (Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand) and the Middle East (WeAre Gulf). The teams are already preparing to set up entities in China and India and planning further development in North America.
We have always preferred to develop our international business with local partners, in order to have a better understanding of local operating methods and cultures. The partners we choose must have effective networks and, above all, share the same strategic philosophy and experiences. This international diversity should be seen as an asset for the Group and its development will be one of the keys to our success in the future. The world is global, and so we must have a global approach to our business, recruitment and strategy.
The creation of WeAre Pacific in March 2018 resulted from a meeting between Prismadd, which was looking for international partners in order to penetrate new markets and promote additive manufacturing, and Yamaichi Special Steel, which is always interested in new technologies that it can integrate into its “Factory Mall”. Only a few months later, Prismadd Japan was created and inaugurated in February 2016.
At the same time, WeAre Aerospace was in the process of being established in France. In 2017, it was only natural that the WeAre Group would decide to open all its activities up to the international market. Yamaichi Special Steel was the ideal and logical partner to help the Group set up WeAre Pacific. Again, it took only a few months to consolidate 9 sites and more than 420 people in 5 countries under the same banner. By organizing WeAre Pacific into “Market-oriented” Business Units, we focused each facility’s activity on a particular specialty and provided our customers with a structured response to their needs. Yamaichi’s existing structures were maintained in Japan and Vietnam, where there is a strong focus on the automotive market, whereas WeAre Pacific’s presence in the Aeronautics sector have required a series of new developments, each providing a specific, complementary response.
The opening of a “smart factory” devoted to precision parts and MRO (Maintenance Repair & Overhaul) in Seletar (Singapore) aims to group our resources and relieve the workload at the historic Globaltronic Precision site, which joined the group in August 2018.
Our project in Malaysia is being structured to create a highly competitive, integrated company specialized in aluminum machining to meet our long-standing customers’ growing needs for large volumes.
In Japan, the high level of local industrial expertise has enabled the Group to position itself in the market for engine parts.
As regards, the Medical market, the capacities of the Globaltronic Bio-Tech and GLS sites will be reinforced in the coming months by new production facilities in Malaysia and the rationalization of resources in Vietnam.
In the space of just two years, WeAre Pacific will have developed a range of product offers covering every need in the region, thanks to the integration of the group’s businesses, and driven by a sustained innovation policy (see below). 2019 promises to be a year filled with key announcements!
Extension of the building in Vietnam to double the surface area
The opening ceremony for Yamaichi Special Steel Vietnam Co.’s second factory took place on March 6 in Vietnam.
This factory has a workshop of more than 32,292 sq.ft (3000m2) primarily devoted to machining. It has 6 surface machining centers, 2 lathes,1 radial machine, 3 machining centers, 2 wire-cut EDM machines and 2 precision surface-grinding machines.
Our priority customers are essentially the existing customers of Yamaichi Special Steel, customers of YST, our Thai subsidiary and Japanese companies based in Vietnam. We are mainly targeting the automotive market, but we also aim to meet the needs of the medical and aerospace industries.
The opening of this new machining site will complement our existing activities in material distribution, heat treatment and surface treatment, and enable us to provide our customers with a comprehensive industrial solution.
A new factory in SELETAR
After the integration of Globaltronic Group in WeAre Pacific in the summer of 2018, we decided to pursue our expansion in Singapore by creating a new entity: Globaltronic Aero. The company is based on the Seletar Aerospace Park, which is home to Airbus, Safran, Rolls Royce and many other international companies.
The 32,292 sq.ft (3000m2) factory, which is shared with MATCOR (a CETIM company), will be a Smart Factory devoted to the aerospace sector, incorporating all the Group’s specialized processes, from machining and 3D printing to AIRBUS and BOEING-certified quality assurance processes.
Specializing in hard metals, this new production site fits perfectly into our regional strategy, since it complements the developments in Malaysia, that are focused on light metals. As in France and Japan, the building will also house an innovation hub (with French Fab and French Tech certifications). The hub will include an exhibition area, which both local and French companies can use to present their innovative technologies, and an incubation area that will enable pre-selected start-ups to work with the engineers on site and install their solutions directly on the machines in the factory.
This new development phase in the region represents a total investment of more than €6 million. It will enable WeAre Pacific to establish itself as a major industrial player and become part of the innovation and new-technology ecosystem in Singapore.
The new site will be operational in the last quarter of 2019
Projects in 2019
WeAre integrates dynamic innovation ecosystems in Singapore and Tokyo
Singapore is ranked as the fifth most innovative country in the world according to the Global Innovation Index. The country is home to a vibrant ecosystem of start-ups, multinationals, R&D centers and universities, which seek to provide solutions to highly complex issues through cutting-edge innovation.
At the same time, the innovation ecosystem in Japan is also thriving and growing rapidly, with the development of solid start-up communities, strategic support from the government through the “J-start-up” initiative, large groups opening up to greater cooperation with start-ups and a pool of university specialists and researchers willing to collaborate with industry.
In order to incorporate innovative technologies into the Group, “WeAre Innovation” is working actively in the Pacific region, launching R&D projects, undertaking joint development and investments in certain start-ups involved in strategic technologies for our industries.
To take things to the next level, WeAre has teamed up with Leonie Hill Capital, the leading venture capital company in Singapore, to create a joint investment fund called the Etoile Fund. The results have been immediate, with an initial investment in a French industrial gem called Pollen. This start-up has developed a new multi-material industrial process which combines the mechanical performance of injection molding and the flexibility of additive manufacturing.
Our innovation hubs and start-up accelerators based in Seletar (Singapore) and Tokyo (Japan) are working towards a common goal, i.e. collaborating with start-ups in the Industry 4.0 sector to turn our facilities into smart factories that will revolutionize future products.
As part of the French Tech and French Fab communities in Singapore and Japan, we are now ambassadors for French technology and manufacturing. Within this context, we had the honor of meeting and exchanging ideas with representatives from the French government: Mr. Mounir Mahdjoubi, Secretary of State for Digital Transformation; Mr. Henry Verdier, Digital Ambassador; and Mr. Pedro Novo, Director of Export Financing at BpiFrance. Thanks to these meetings and our strategic positioning in industry and innovation, we now have the active support of French institutions for our future projects in France and abroad.
All these actions will enable the Group to pursue the following developments:
- Optimization of our production processes through integration of breakthrough innovations in all the Group’s companies;
- Integration of greater added value in our existing products;
- Diversification of our activities and products;
- The acquisition of expertise in professions of the future.
KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT, BU ADDITIVE
At the end of 2018, we launched a “Knowledge Management” (KM) system in the Additive BU. KM makes it possible to note, identify, analyze, organize, memorize and share collective knowledge between the members of an organization – the knowledge created by the company itself or acquired from outside – in order to achieve a particular objective. The aim of the approach is to preserve, pool and summarize the company’s knowledge, notably the knowledge of its employees, in order to share and exploit it.
This has many benefits:
- Reducing the impact when technical experts leave the company and anticipating/targeting HR needs,
- Sharing best practices between different sites with the same activities,
- Capitalizing on existing knowledge to avoid needing to look for solutions to problems that have already been solved.
- Optimizing the integration process for new employees,
- Improving the company’s agility by effectively mobilizing specific skills and knowledge
- Training networks of specialists, etc.
Therefore, the aim of Knowledge Management is to ensure the company’s long-term efficiency and solidity.
“The Additive BU has particular Knowledge-Management potential. In recent years, the Group’s Additive teams have significantly developed their expertise in a sector that is still not very mature in industrial terms, but that is growing rapidly. This is all the more critical in that the continuous learning process, which draws on old and new knowledge, concerns relatively small teams working in different locations”
The project concerns the Additive BU in France and abroad, since knowledge modelling is a key factor for developing this activity in new territories.
The international market represents the vitality of WeAre Group, its constant quest for excellence and customer proximity; it constantly brings new development opportunities for our talents and constitutes a magnificent melting pot of innovation and differentiation.
Our international development is a springboard for our activities, which requires us to structure our businesses in order to deploy them efficiently and sustainably. As such, our Knowledge Management (K.M.) approach is emblematic of the importance of formalizing our know-how
to build bridges between countries and between teams in order to accelerate and secure our development in strategic regions.